Callum Wilson has his eyes on making a late run into England’s squad for the 2022 World Cup.
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Wilson scored for the third opening day in a row as Newcastle overcame Nottingham Forest on Saturday, becoming the only player to do so for the club not named Alan Shearer.
His strike, a clever flick following a Joelinton pass, took him to three goals in his last two League games, with Wilson having bagged a brace to relegate Burnley back in May. Throw in his performance against Arsenal in the game prior to that, and it’s fair to say the 30-year-old is back to his best.
As ever, however, the worry remains as to his fitness. Since joining Newcastle from Bournemouth, Wilson has missed almost a whole season (35 games) through injury and it would take a brave observer to suggest that won’t happen again.
Still, the aim will obviously be to avoid that as much as possible. Hopefully, with improved training under Eddie Howe compared to the Steve Bruce era, as well as the fact Wilson will not be traveling from the south coast quite as often, the situation will improve somewhat.
Indeed, Wilson has eyes on Qatar.
What has Wilson said about his chances of an England call-up?
Speaking after the Forest win (via the Daily Mirror), Wilson said: “I am sure double figures would get you into the squad.
“I have to hit the ground running. At the moment I am probably not in the running but it is something that is in my mind, focusing on, and when I set my targets I try to achieve them.
“We will see where we end up in 15 games. It is about clearing mini hurdles. Little tests I set myself as a striker. Getting off the mark. Get back-to -back goals. Get braces and hat-tricks. We were favourites against a newly promoted side. I wanted to score, and I did that.
“My goal ratio is good and it is about maintaining that and adding to that. It is one goal now, but don’t score for ten games and it has gone to waste. Same with the team, back it up next week at Brighton.”
Does he have much a chance?
Involved in England squads before, Gareth Southgate has previously hailed the former Bournemouth forward as “resilient” in 2018 and has stressed the door isn’t shut on anybody despite so little time to go before this winter’s tournament.
While Tammy Abraham backed up Harry Kane in the recent Nations League campaign, the options behind the Roma forward don’t look totally convincing. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Kane’s understudy at Euro 2020, has consistently struggled with injuries while Ollie Watkins scored only three more goals than Wilson last season despite featuring far more often.